Cases, hospitalizations trending down slightly in Virginia
New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have started trending downward again statewide, although they still remain well above 2020 levels.
In addition, reported deaths related to the summer surge of the Delta variant continue to rise across Virginia, according to updated Virginia Department of Health data.
In Rappahannock County, 21 new COVID-19 cases have been reported since last Friday, raising the county total to 504 since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. That's up from 13 new cases last week and 15 the week before. But down from earlier in month. Hospitalizations increased by one last week. There have been 4 coronavirus-related deaths of county residents, a figure that thankfully did not increase this week.
Statewide, the seven-day average has fallen more than 10% over the past week to 3,238.3 per day, although that's nearly three times the average on Sept. 24, 2020. The health department said state numbers were affected slightly by an institution in Central Virginia that mistakenly reported 700 new cases on Sept. 8, a date when the state's total number of reported new cases actually hit its highest level since Feb. 6, and those cases were removed this week.
Hospitalizations for treatment of COVID-19 have also fallen slightly this week, to 2,106 patients as of Friday, down from 2,174 last Friday, when a record 621 COVID patients were being treated in intensive care units. However, that's still more than double the number of hospitalizations statewide a year ago, before vaccines were available. Hospitalizations fell as low as 195 in early July.
And the state reported 269 new COVID-related deaths this week, the most since the week ending March 12. Of those, however, only 10 were in Northern Virginia: five in Prince William County, two in Fairfax County and one apiece in Arlington County, Loudoun County and the city of Manassas Park.
Northern Virginia's seven-day average of new cases remains below that in all four other regions of Virginia, which all have fewer residents, although cases are trending downward in all regions:
- Southwest: 822
- Eastern: 732
- Northwest: 681
- Central: 533
Meanwhile, updated data on selected outbreaks across the state show only one new outbreak in progress in Northern Virginia, at Manor Care Health Services in Fair Oaks, where between two and four cases were reported to the health department on Sept. 8. Two other previously reported outbreaks in Fairfax remain in progress:
- Burke Health & Rehabilitation Center, which now is reporting 30 confirmed cases (up from five last week) and between one and four deaths
- Harmony at Spring Hill, nine confirmed cases (up from eight last week) and between one and four deaths.
(For privacy reasons, the health department does not provide the exact number of cases or deaths in an outbreak when there are fewer than five.)
The health department's dashboard tracking the number of breakthrough infections show that between Jan. 17 and Sept. 18, 7,537 infections had been reported in fully vaccinated people in Northern Virginia, resulting in 26 deaths. Statewide, over 26,900 such infections had been reported, a small percentage of the nearly 410,000 overall cases reported in that time.
The health department says the data show that unvaccinated people are 7.4 times more likely to develop COVID-19 than fully vaccinated individuals and are 7.2 times more likely to die from COVID-19.
The pace of vaccinations statewide has declined slightly to 13,600 a day, according to the state's vaccination dashboard. Vaccinations were as low as 11,000 a day in early July but had been as high as 86,000 a day in late March.
As of Friday, over 10.48 million vaccine doses had been administered to Virginians, with 71.2% of the adult population and 59.8% of the total population now fully vaccinated.
Average positivity rate for diagnostic COVID-19 tests generally fell statewide. The state's rate dropped back below 10%, a key level because when the rate is above 10%, experts believe, the spread of the virus is out of control and not all cases are being captured. Rates below 5% generally indicate the spread of the virus is under control.
LATEST COVID-19 DATA
New Cases/Deaths (Seven days ending Friday, Sept. 24)
Rappahannock County: 21 new cases (up from 13 in the prior week); 0 new deaths (down from 1 prior week)
Statewide: 22,668 new cases (down from 25,370 prior week), 269 new deaths (up from 206 prior week)
Statewide Testing: 145,817 PCR diagnostic test results (down from 182,111 prior week)
Rappahannock County: 504 cases, 4 deaths
Statewide: 849,865 cases, 12,511 deaths
Statewide Testing: 9.12 million PCR diagnostic tests (12.54 million when including antibody and antigen tests)
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) cases: 85 (including 14 in Fairfax, 11 in Prince William, two in Loudoun and Alexandria and one in Arlington). One new case reported statewide this week.
*Provided by Virginia Department of Health. The health department's COVID-19 data is updated each morning (Monday through Friday) by 10 a.m. and includes reports by local health agencies before 5 p.m. the previous day.
Statewide Hospital Data (as of Friday, Sept. 24)
Hospitalizations: 2,106 (down from 2,174 on Sept. 17)
Peak Hospitalizations: 3,209 reached Jan. 13
Patients in ICU: 557 (down from 621 on Sept. 17 -- the most ever)
Patients Discharged: 66,371 (925 this week)
*Provided by Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association
For updated national and international COVID-19 data, visit the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard.
Editor's note: Rapp News is providing regular COVID-19 updates every week. For daily reports, visit the Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard.